21 Jun 2009

The Flow of Intuitional Identity, Husserl, para 21, Supplementary B1 to: On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

The Flow of Intuitional Identity

Edmund Husserl

On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time

B: Supplementary Texts

I "On the Introduction of the Essential Distinction between 'Fresh' Memory and 'Full' Recollection and about the Change in Content and Differences in Apprehension in the Consciousness of Time"

No. 1 "How Does the Unity of a Process of Change that Continues for an Extended Period of Time Come to Be Represented?
Intuition and Re-presentation"

Paragraph 21

Husserl has been discussing the flow of intuitions we have when being aware of an object. Previously he discussed two components that contribute both to this flow and the changes it undergoes [our summaries skipped some of this analysis.]

Now Husserl will emphasize some additional matters.

We have intuitions during a flowing course of time. As well, we experience time by flowingly blending our sequence of intuitions into one unbroken continuum. Hence Husserl states: “The flow of intuition is a temporal flow.” It both happens in time, and it serves to establish our experience of time.

So, our intuitions occur through a temporal flow. However, when analyzing intuitions, we are not concerned with any one particular temporal instant during that flow. [Consider this. We are looking at the ink-well. Our eyes run over its different parts. To each part we see, we have an intuition of that part. After seeing enough parts, we intuit the whole ink-well. As we continue to view the ink-well, one part or another will “shine forth with distinctness.” The whole intuition of the ink-well will modify according to which part we notice at that moment. Imagine we see a friend. But then we notice his hand is bleeding. We still have the total intuition of our friend. But how we intuit our friend is modified at that moment, because we notice that one of his parts indicates something unusual about the whole: that the whole of his health has changed. Returning to the ink-well example, we might at one time intuit the ink-well with one corner being prominent and distinct to the intuition. And at another time another corner might be notably distinct.] Husserl explains that we return to certain distinctions in a cyclical fashion without any temporal regularities.

Since now this part, now that part of the momentarily given total intuition shines forth with distinctness, resulting in an appropriate change in the whole intuition, it happens time and again that the old intuition with the part distinguished in it returns. The stages of the flow of intuition therefore flow over into one another cyclically but without any firm cycle, without any definite order. Depending on the random stimuli of the content and the random direction of interest, the flow time and again assumes different sequences. Choice can also be a determining factor by singling out at will this or that moment from the moments that are indirectly seen and noticed for themselves and that stand in competition. (152b.c, emphasis mine)

[So suppose we walk into the office. From the doorway we see the inkwell from a particular angle. From that vantage we experience a particular version of our inkwell intuition in which the foremost corner is especially distinct.] So Husserl writes:

With every return of equivalent circumstances, the equivalent intuition appears and is recognized as such and as a reproduction. (152c)

[No imagine that we continue walking into the office, walking around the desk, and taking our seat on its other side, all while looking at the inkwell as we get closer to it. We perform this ritual many times. So not only does each moment of our seeing the well give us a different modification of the one intuition of the inkwell, we also experience the same sequence of partial intuitions – along with its internal transitions – as we do every other day.] These repetitions of intuitions are the grounds for us recognizing particular objects, [and not say any inkwell in general.] By this means we may judge that an object intuited at one time is identical with that same object when we intuit it another time.

With every return of equivalent circumstances, the equivalent intuition appears and is recognized as such and as a reproduction; and every return of equivalent paths of change (or sequences of change in circumstances) also gives rise to equivalent and recognized flows of intuition along with the recognized distinctions. A linguistic mediation is not required for these acts of recognizing; such recognizing, however, does supply the presupposition for our judgment that what is given in the flow of intuition is an object identical with itself. (152d)

Husserl, Edmund. On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time (1893-1917). Vol 4 ofEdmund Husserl: Collected Works. Ed. Rudolf Bernet. Trans. John Barnett Brough. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991.

No comments:

Post a Comment